View Full Version : diy pistol slide refinishing advice

April 27, 2011, 01:48 AM
I have an old saturday night special I want to "learn" on. It has a few minor spots of pitting and a goodly amount of scratches on it. From my limited knowledge none of the scratches or pits are deep enough to worry about welding them up. None are deep enough to catch a fingernail on.

I would like some advice or a link to an online guide on resurfacing this gun in preparation for it to be re-blued. Specifically I am wondering how to polish out these scratches. I was thinking about starting out with some 400 grit wet/dry and working down to 1500 and finally using a polishing compound and a terry cloth to get the final finish. Anybody have any opinions on this?

This project is more-so for me to learn than to save the pistol. I would not be to awfully sad if I made mistakes that would leave a less than perfect finish. The gun is virtually worth nothing and will likely never be shot again. Just a learning exercise.


April 30, 2011, 09:04 AM
I believe this will work great in teaching pit removal. I'd start block sanding with 180 or 220 untill the pits are gone then progressively finer to remove the 180/220 scratches. Best of luck to you.

April 30, 2011, 09:52 AM
Grit selection depends on how deep these marks are, but progressing through the grades is what you want to do. Just keep in mind you'll want to polish with each grade at a right angle to the previous grade. That not only reduces the surface texture faster, you can more easily see when the previous grade's marks are removed.

Sanding blocks handle most surfaces without sharp edges. If you need a sharp edge, have a broad flat surface, like a granite surface plate or some plate glass, and put some spray adhesive on the back of the wet/dry and glue to the surface, then rub the work on it. That's a good approach for the sides of a slide after you've abrasive-blasted the top to achieve a non-glare sighting surface, but want a sharp turn to a flat surface. Round parts or convex radii get the shoe-shine motion from a strip of paper. Cloth-backed abrasive is actually better for that. You can buy it in rolls. Same stuff sanding belts are made from.

Polishing is tougher. The flat surface and adhesive approach can get you a high polish using Mylar-backed adhesive (http://www.tedpella.com/material_html/lapping.htm#_816_322). For cloth polishing, the usual suspects will work. Brownells has a whole series of polish and buffing pastes.

May 21, 2011, 05:07 PM
Please, i beg of you, cease using the term "saturday night special" when referencing your semi-auto pistol or revolver. No matter what it looks like or how much you paid for it, the terminology is derogatory to shooters in general.

Anti-gunners love to use terms such as this, to brand all gun owners as mindless, beer drinking, simple minded, poorly educated, backwoods rednecks & low-life scum.

I know this for a fact, as i was verbally attacked & harangued by liberals at gun shows while president of a large, 100% nra 50+ year old gun club during the 1990's.

Please help me & others to not pass this harmful verbage along to the next generation of shooters. Thank you !!!!

Sincerely yours,


Clifford L. Hughes
May 21, 2011, 05:17 PM

I agree with Guru1911. The word Saturday Night Sepcial shouldn't be part of a gun owner's volcabulary. The news media coined this term to gain support fot their anti gun propaganda.

Semper Fi>

Gunnery Sergeant
Clifford L. Hughes
USMC Retired

Bill DeShivs
May 21, 2011, 06:04 PM
You probably should start with 320 wet/dry, then 400.
400 grit is about as fine as most blued guns are finished. A bright polish is not necessary or desireable, unless the part is to be plated.

May 22, 2011, 04:43 PM
Oooo-rah & a big thanks for you sir, for supporting my letter to the gentlemen, who used the term "saturday night special" in his opening thread. I knew that i was not the only gun-guy who reads this forum and felt the way i do. We have both attempted to educate him regarding his choice of words to describe his sidearm. Let us hope our gentle correction is enough.

Thanks also for your service to our country in the "usmc".


May 24, 2011, 06:19 PM
The objectionable term is a two-edged sword. I bought a new pistol recently just because it was made by an original "SNS" company here in California that is still in business despite being almost hounded out of existence by the application of the SNS label to their products.

Google "ring of fire." SNS is a derogatory name applied to affordable guns poor people can afford to keep in their houses. There is no shame to it.

May 25, 2011, 11:23 AM
The term is derogatory. In theory that is the shame in it; use of derogatory language. The term "Saturday night special" suggests the only purpose for such a weapon is to slip it in your pocket so when you go out and get drunk and get into fights on Saturday nights, you'll have an edge over an opponent without one. It's an attempt to obfuscate any thought of legitimate usefulness for the weapon in self-defense for the less economically advantaged, thus to make it easier to excuse unwarranted legal controls over it. It also implies the less economically fortunate, as a class, are inherently prone to drinking and fighting on weekends, so it is also implicit class discrimination.

All that said, though, I have to say I don't hear the term in the press much anymore. After the drug gangs all went 9 mm's during the rise of the crack cocaine scourge in the 80's and early 90's, it seems largely to have fallen into disuse by the anti-gun crowd, who decided more powerful weapons are easier to demagog. It's a little difficult to claim small, easily concealed, low power weapons are the world's main problem and that large, difficult to conceal, high capacity magazine ersatz assault weapons are the world's main problem, both at the same time.

I suppose you could look at SNS like the infamous "N-word", used freely by the very people it denigrates, but forbidden to anyone else's vocabulary. So perhaps, in that same vein, owners of such weapons should be allowed to use the SNS-term in good humor, but we agree to jump on anybody else who does so as promoting class discrimination.

Hmmm? Seems to me I have my grandfather's little Bernadelli .25 ACP lying around here somewhere. . .

May 25, 2011, 05:30 PM
Uncle nick---all i can say is "wow" to your response as to why the term "sns" needs to no longer be said by anyone, especially those of us who have dedicated our lives to the shooting sports.

Between you, gunny hughes, & myself---i sincerely believe we have covered all the bases on this topic. Hopefully this reader & others on this forum who use this terminology will truly see how bad this descriptive term is.


May 25, 2011, 06:07 PM
"Saturday Night Special" has long since lost it's place in the gun debate. Use of the descriptor has virtually gone away since it's "day" in the mid seventies. It's use has no impact on anything.

May 25, 2011, 06:26 PM
For mine:

Drop the slide into a cheap bucket of Pecante sauce. The acid in the salsa will remove the bluing. I'll send pictures of my piece if I can find them. It takes a couple weeks and some shaking of the sauce, but it gets the job done.

It sounds crazy, but it's low tech and low cost (not to mention low effort).

I then used Simple Green to clean thoroughly.

This gives you a clean even surface to start from.

From the other posts, you've got a handle on sanding if that's the way you want to go.

For mine, I decided to use Duracoat. I bought the goop and the aeresol can for $50 and did it myself. I layered that stuff on thick enough that even the caliber engraving is hard to make out. It's pretty sharp completed and was a very low tech, cheap solution to an ugly piece.

May 25, 2011, 06:29 PM
Here's a pic of the finished product. The G-27 in the upper right corner...it's not worth explaining the color choice...just roll with it.

May 25, 2011, 08:27 PM
I absolutely hate the media creating terms and improperly latching on to terms in an effort to denegrate lawful gun owners.

The media seems to have abandoned this term since latching on to "assault weapon" to describe any semi automatic rifle.

Hopefully if we keep correcting their language, the media will cease to use these terms when attacking us.

To the OP, I wish you success with the project on your "affordable pistol":D

May 25, 2011, 08:33 PM
I kind of liked the term "Saturday night special". You knew it was a Jennings, Bryco, Llama or other POS gun.
Some of these POS guns didn't even use good steel in the slides. Trying to use this as a test gun for refinish work may be futile. I picked up an old P08 Luger for $100.00 to learn how to refinish a gun. At least it had good steel to work with. Results were outstanding. You may have to resort to a spray on finish to get good results. Hot blueing or black oxide both need good steel for a nice finish.

James K
May 25, 2011, 08:56 PM
The "SNS" term is derogatory in more ways than one. The original expression was "(N-word)town Saturday Night". Most cities had an area called by that name and the expression meant that the persons who lived in that part of the city were criminals, irresponsible and worthless trash who spent Saturday nights killing one another. The guns were supposedly those used in that activity. So the term SNS is not only derogatory to gun owners, it is racist as well. It simply shows what those lily-white elitists who style themselves "liberals" really think of people of other races.


May 26, 2011, 03:03 PM
It's pretty sharp completed and was a very low tech, cheap solution to an ugly piece.

So after looking at your pictures, let me get this straight: You took a Glock and Duracoated it Orange, and are now presenting the completed product as a solution to ugliness? :confused: I mean come on brother, you had to know if you posted that pick you were going to catch a little flack for it, right? ;)

May 26, 2011, 09:41 PM
I have to wonder if that could get you in trouble in some jurisdictions where the law requires some orange to distinguish toy guns from real ones.

Bill DeShivs
May 26, 2011, 10:31 PM
If the pistol slide is zinc (re:Jennings, Bryco, etc.) it can not be blued or economically plated.

May 30, 2011, 06:10 PM
On the topic of the Orange Glock: it may be ugly, but my wife loves it. I'm in the process of building an AR for her and am still in debate on the color scheme (Bronco blue is the front runner right now).

In the end, as long as she's happy, I'll take all the crap my buddies dish out over that one.

May 31, 2011, 12:49 AM
I like the orange Glock. If you ever drop it it in a fight, you can easily spot where it fell. Plus, if it's ever stolen you don't even need to know the serial number. "Nah officer I don't know the serial, but it's the only Glock in the world with a day-glo orange slide.":)

May 31, 2011, 10:52 AM
To OP check to make sure you have ferrous iorn else it will not blue.
Some Saturday Night Specials are made of white metal alloys especially the frames.

May 31, 2011, 10:55 AM
To the forum members sorry to call a SNS a Saturday Night Special.
It is a inexpensive hand gun.

May 31, 2011, 03:26 PM
You are hereby officially forgiven by the members of this forum. We shooters, especially us guys 55+, sometimes we have a slip of the tongue & this old junk comes flying out our mouth.

Only thing you can say is: "ooops my bad. Should not have used those words. Please forgive me"

i'm in the 60+ group of those who have had ministrokes. Sometimes my words come out all wrong, but thankfully my true friends & family have a laugh and say "ok try that again"


May 31, 2011, 11:48 PM
thanks for the help all so far. The sanding down bit turned out pretty good. it took alot of time but i got the pits out and a mirror finish. The blueing didn't take worth a darn. Not a good metal I suppose. Its a raven arms 25.

I learned alot from the little project and am more confident about refinishing a gun of any sort of value.

I did not intend to start a flame ware about sns. I just grew up in a lifesyle where I called things what they were. But from now on I will polish this **** and call it something more politically correct.

Thanks for the help with my project on the gun that shall be named forevermore the "inexpensive gun my father put in his pocket to protect my vertically challenged mother on weekend night bar excursions from unlicensed pharmacists, or unwanted hospice assistants and the like. NOTE- This particular firearm was never held by or aimed at any African Americans or any other member of any minority group."

June 1, 2011, 11:31 PM
Polish the bad blueing off and Duracoat that sucker. Oh, and we want to see pictures. hearing about it isn't nearly as fun as seeing it.